After writing the three novels in his fantasy series the Divine Cities trilogy, writer Robert Jackson Bennett switched things up by combining urban fantasy and cyberpunk for Foundryside, the first book in his Founders trilogy. Now he’s changing things up again with his new novella Vigilance (paperback, Kindle), a dystopian sci-fi satire. In the following email interview, Bennett talks about how this story of a gun game was neither inspired nor influenced by what you might expect.
When it comes to fantasy novels, most writers will tell you their biggest influences are other fantasy writers: J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert E. Howard, etc. But in talking about City Of Miracles (paperback, digital, audiobook), the third and final book in his Divine Cities trilogy — which started with 2014’s City Of Stairs and continued with 2016’s City Of Blades — writer Robert Jackson Bennett cites a certain iconic spymaster as having a much bigger impact on this last installment, and the series as a whole.
Robert Jackson Bennett’s new novel City Of Stairs is not an easy read. Not because he uses big words or his grammar is atrocious, it’s because this fantasy novel isn’t easy to classify. It’s a spy novel with a murder mystery, and it doesn’t have a clear enemy, but instead shows both sides as having flaws. But in talking to Mr. Bennett, not being easy this is exactly how he likes it.